MENAFN - Arab Times
Kuwait Energy shortlisted for Afghan 'oil project'
(MENAFN - Arab Times) The Afghan government has shortlisted companies from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey for a major oil and gas exploration project, a step in the country's quest to reap revenues from its vast untapped mineral and energy resources.
Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani said Monday that bids from Dubai's Dragon Oil, Kuwait Energy, and the Turkish Petroleum Corp. have been selected for the tender involving exploration rights in the Tajik Basin in northern Afghanistan.
The basin's oil reserves are estimated at more than 1 billion barrels.
The government said in a statement that the bids will be considered in a "thorough, transparent, and fair bidding process until the announcement of the results of the evaluation process," adding that the contract will be signed in March. The statement said 20 international companies had expressed interest in the project and that eight were judged eligible, including Texas-based Exxon Mobil.
The Tajik Basin is located between the northern cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz. The tender includes the six blocks known to contain hydrocarbon reserves. The blocks may be awarded to a single bidder or to multiple bidders, the ministry said.
Afghanistan has been looking for ways to exploit some of its mineral wealth to offset the loss of revenues when foreign aid and spending drops in step with the withdrawal of international combat troops by year-end 2014. The government has been keen to develop an oil-extraction and refining capability for the landlocked nation, which is entirely reliant on fuel imports from neighboring Iran and Central Asian countries.
Afghanistan's mineral wealth - estimated at up to 3 trillion dollars - has been detailed in several surveys, the most extensive of which were conducted by the Soviets in the 1970s. Mining companies, both Afghan and foreign, have already shown interest, notably in its copper, iron and oil. Also highly sought are so-called rare earth elements, used in cell phones, hybrid car batteries, wind turbines and by the defense industries.
But most mineral riches are scattered throughout the country, including in the war-wracked southern and eastern areas.
China's National Petroleum Corporation became the first foreign company to start oil production extraction in Afghanistan, and is scheduled to build the country's first refinery within the next three years.
The Chinese firm's contract covers gas blocks in Sari Pul and Faryab, an area known as the Amu Darya River Basin that was first explored by Soviet engineers in the 1960s.
China has also made a hefty investment in Afghan minerals, signing a 3 billion contract to mine copper.
"It is a great day for the people of Afghanistan because we've never had such big companies interested in Afghanistan," Abdul Jalil Jumrani, the ministry's director of policy and promotions said.
Exxon Mobil was rumoured to have been interested in the exploration rights, but Jumrani said no Western companies had bid.
The United States Geological Survey says Afghanistan sits on more than 1 trillion worth of minerals, including copper, iron ore and gold.
But 30 years of war have prevented their exploitation. With US-led NATO troops due to withdraw and hand the fight against Taliban insurgents to Afghan security forces, concerns about the country's future stability still weigh on international investors.
China National Petroleum Corporation and its Afghan partner the Watan Group recently began pumping Afghanistan's first oil from a different section of the Afghan-Tajik Zone.
The new exploration and production contracts will be awarded in the first quarter of next year, the mines ministry said.
"Today's bids to explore the Afghan-Tajik Basin and the strong response to the tender announcement earlier this year signify a profound interest from the international community to join with the people of Afghanistan to build a sound and growing economy," mines minister Wahidullah Shahrani said.
Tenders for other exploration blocks throughout Afghanistan would be offered in the future, he said.
MENA News Headlines
|Mar 7 2014||Cement demand to grow on infrastructure projects in Oman ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Infrastructure projects in Oman is expected to reflect a high growth on the cement sector, according to Oman Observer.
Omani government plans to launch developing transport and social ...|
|Mar 7 2014||Aviation sector to register highest growth in ME ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Traffic in air passenger and air cargo is expected to outperform in the Middle East by 2032 compared to all other regions, according to Oman Observer.
Air passenger traffic in the Middle ...|
|Mar 7 2014||UAE's Danube revenue up 17 percent in H2 ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Sales revenue of Danube Group, a leading construction and home interior company in the UAE, was estimated at USD 544 million in 2013, according to Khaleej Times.
Revenue rose by up to 17 ...|
|Mar 7 2014||UAE, Serbia sign USD1 b loan deal ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE's Department of Finance has signed a USD1 billion loan deal with Serbian Finance Minister in a visit to Abu Dhabi, according to Khaleej Times.
The loan deal aims to strengthen ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Cement demand in Oman to grow 6 percent annually ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Cement demand in Sultanate of Oman is expected to grow in the upcoming few years, Times of Oman reported.
Huge infrastructure and tourism projects in the Gulf nation will push cement ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Gulf investors to invest in Moroccan private sector ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) A partnership between Saudi Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and Morocco-based Al Ajial Funds has been signed to invest jointly in Morocco's private ...|
|Mar 6 2014||UAE top importer of Swiss watches in region ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said that the UAE ranked first as the primary Middle Eastern country in the Top Ten list of importers of Swiss watches, Saudi Gazette ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Bahrain oil, gas, water projects at USD14b ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Bahrain has re-asserted itself as a regional powerhouse in the oil & gas as well as power & water sectors, Saudi Gazette reported.
The country has USD14 billion worth of oil, gas power ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Jacobs wins BP contract in Oman ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Jacobs Engineering has been awarded with contract by BP for process and infrastructure work on the greenfield Khazzan project in Oman, Times of Oman reported.
Vice president of Jacobs ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Al Futtaim Carillion wins USD250m contract in Dubai ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Al Futtaim Carillion announced that it has won a contract by Meraas in the UAE, Arabian Business reported.
The USD250.66 million contract is for the construction of the Avenue Phase 2 ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Hilton plans Qatar expansion ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Hilton Worldwide is planning to expand in Qatar with the signing of a management agreement with First Qatar Real Estate Development Company, The Peninsula Qatar.
The management agreement ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Saudi MERS death toll rises to 62 ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) Saudi health authorities said Thursday a man has died from the MERS coronavirus, bringing the death toll from the respiratory disease in the worst-hit country to 62.
The 55-year-old ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Olsen writes off England's World Cup chances ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal of the game with a header eight minutes from time after England had looked set to fail to win at Wembley for a third consecutive game - following ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Sabella blames tiredness for dour showing ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Sabella's team were nowhere near their best in Bucharest on Wednesday, with captain Lionel Messi particularly underwhelming as he appeared to struggle with illness.
|Mar 6 2014||'Happy' Keane to stay with Galaxy ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) The Ireland international, 33, has made 55 league appearances for the Galaxy, scoring 31 goals and helping them to two MLS Cup titles, while also bagging the club's MVP award last ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Del Bosque predicts bright future for Costa ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Costa, who represented Brazil in two friendlies before pledging his international loyalty to Spain, where he plays for Atletico Madrid, started against Italy on Wednesday as his new ...|
|Mar 6 2014||International Friendly: Mexico 0 Nigeria 0 ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora)
It was a chance-filled affair at the Georgia Dome, with all three participating goalkeepers - Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico), Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide (Nigeria) - all producing ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Flyers soar over Washington in NHL ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) The Flyers and Capitals are among the backlog of teams vying for play-off spots in Metropolitan, with the Flyers sitting second on 72 points, just five clear of the sixth-placed New ...|
|Mar 6 2014||NATO Steps Up Cooperation with Ukraine ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) NATO is stepping up its cooperation with Ukraine while reviewing cooperation with Russia, the NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
Speaking after talks ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Libya: Niger Extradites Gaddafi's Son Saadi ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) The Libyan government announced today that former leader Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saadi, has been extradited from Niger and is now in custody in Tripoli.
Saadi Gaddafi ...|